Enterprise football team to compete in Champions Challenge
Feb 11, 2013 (Dothan Eagle - McClatchy-Tribune Information Services via COMTEX) --
This fall, the Enterprise Wildcat football team will become the first Wiregrass team to participate in the preseason al.com Champions Challenge.
The Wildcats have been selected to participate in this year's event -- the eighth annual Champions Challenge -- at Montgomery's Cramton Bowl against Bob Jones as part of a tripleheader featuring some of the top teams in the state.
The Challenge is expected to be held Friday, Aug. 23 and Saturday, Aug. 24. The Enterprise game will likely by on Saturday, Aug. 24.
The Alabama High School Athletic Association has not officially announced the game or any of the other match-ups for the event.
The game does not count toward the regular season record, but it provides a program with major exposure in a big venue. The games are during the week of preseason jamborees for most teams, but the Saturday games are usually the only ones in the state being played on that day.
"There is the benefit of getting exposed to the state," Enterprise head football coach David Faulkner said of competing in the game. "It will be a statewide deal and it will be in a centralized location where a lot of people might get to come watch us play and see Enterprise play for the first time in a long time.
"It is a good deal for our kids to have that game sitting there to prepare for all summer. All games are big, but when you get an opportunity to play in a spotlight-type game, it adds a little sense of urgency to it. It gives our kids a little nudge for preparation for the off-season."
Faulkner said Enterprise was selected by AHSAA officials to participate in the game.
"We didn't go looking for the invite or politic or anything like that," Faulkner said. "We just got the phone call from Alvin Briggs and coach (Steve) Savareese with the state association and they asked us if we would be interested in playing in the game.
"We told them it would be an honor to play. We are excited about the opportunity."
The AHSAA Challenge normally tries to feature two playoff-type teams in each of the three games.
Enterprise finished this past season 7-4, losing to McGill-Toolen in the first round of the Class 6A state playoffs.
Bob Jones, located in Madison near Huntsville, went 8-4 last year and advanced to the second round of the playoffs before losing 14-13 to Mountain Brook.
"We get to play a quality football program that has proven itself to be a playoff sound prepared football team," Faulkner said. "It is not an every day, every year opponent, so it kind of has a newness to it and that brings a little excitement to the game."
Last fall, Spanish Fort beat Muscle Shoals 33-22, Central of Clay County downed Beauregard 25-13 and McGill-Toolen defeated Northridge 27-0 in the Champions Challenge.
Faulkner said Enterprise, since it is the Wiregrass' first team to play in the game, could help generate interest in more area teams with a strong performance in the game.
"If we can go in and play well and really put on a good show in front of the state, I think it will bring attention to the kind of football we play in the Wiregrass," Faulkner said. "Mobile and Birmingham get a lot of attention because of the teams they have there and the year-in and year-out showings of those teams.
"Being here over here in the Wiregrass, we have kind of been forgotten a little bit. I think it will be a great opportunity for us to go out and not only represent Enterprise, but to represent Wiregrass football as a whole."
Though it doesn't count for the record books, Faulkner said he doesn't anticipate Enterprise approaching the game with any less enthusiasm than a regular game.
"We will approach it like a regular football game, as a game that is a counter," Faulkner said. "Our approach will be to prepare well and go in to win the football game.
"It is non-counter as it doesn't count against your record, but at the end of the day, it will be a big deal for us and it will be a big deal for them. I think both teams will approach it as a regular-season football game."
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